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Year in review: What ever happened to…

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By Michelle Malkin  •  December 22, 2006 11:55 AM

Since January 1, I’ve published nearly 2,400 blog posts of all shapes, sizes, and subject matter. Many readers have asked for follow-ups on stories that especially touched their hearts, boiled their blood, and otherwise piqued their interest in a lasting way. Here are a few updates:

What ever happened to Haleigh Poutre?

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The state of Massachusetts almost murdered her. They deemed her “virtually brain-dead,” in a “vegetative state,” and not worth saving. Now, she is “bright-eyed and smiling,” responsive, and speaking a few words. This beautiful girl was nearly beaten to death by her father and stepmother–who were aided by an incompetent social services bureaucracy and a medical establishment convinced her life was a waste. Her mother and grandmother announced last week that they will battle to hold the bureaucracy accountable:

Child abuse victim Haleigh Poutre has regained the ability to speak, but outraged relatives said her tiny voice has been silenced by the state’s refusal to seek justice against social workers who failed to protect her.

During a press conference yesterday, Haleigh’s biological mother and grandmother announced a campaign to hold the Department of Social Services accountable for failing to stop the horrific beatings that left the girl brain damaged.

“Each step of the way I thought there would be such an uproar . . . and there would be all kinds of strong responses and actions from state (legislators), but the silence has been deafening,” said Susan Molina, a child protection advocate who spoke for the family. “The message in Massachusetts is that anything goes.”

She said she will continue to seek meetings with legislators until action is taken. DSS was found to have failed to intervene on Haleigh’s behalf despite several reports of abuse but was cleared of blame for her injuries by a state panel.

Haleigh’s grandmother, Sandra Sudyka, said the girl was able to say hello during a hospital visit in July, but the state revoked her visitation rights soon afterward. “I think they’re afraid of what she might say,” Sudyka said. DSS spokeswoman Mia Alvarado said, “We have a request from the courts not to speak on any matter related to Haleigh, and we feel we need to honor that request.” DSS had sought to remove Haleigh’s life support after she slipped into a coma but reversed course when her condition improved.

***

What ever happened to Abdul Rahman?

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He was the ex-Muslim whose conversion to Christianity nearly cost him his life. Adbul Rahman. In March, after a global outcry, Rahman fled Afghanistan and found safety in Italy after Muslim mobs demanded he be killed for abandoning Islam. Seven months after his escape, jihadis in Afghanistan still wanted him murdered for turning to Christ. They kidnapped Italian photojournalist Gabriele Torsello and threatened to kill him unless Italy returned Rahman to Afghanistan. Torsello was later released. He is a Muslim convert. As far as we know, Rahman remains safe in Italy. But apostates who leave Islam around the world remain in danger.

***

What ever happened to Baby Charlotte?

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Then

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Now

Charlotte Wyatt was the brain-damaged toddler from whom doctors in England won the power to withhold life support–against the wishes of her parents. Pro-life groups and bloggers joined the Wyatt family earlier this year in fighting for her life and battling the “do not resuscitate” order mandated by the courts. Charlotte has defied medical expectations and survived for three years during the legal battles. Unfortunately, the strain took a toll on her parents’ marriage. Charlotte’s mother left the family; the father was admitted to the hospital for a drug overdose.

The good news: Just this week, Charlotte was discharged from hospital yesterday in time to spend Christmas with foster parents.

***

What ever happened to the the Haditha Marines and Pendleton 8?

Here’s what I wrote back on May 30 about the Haditha Marines:

On May 18th, I was one of many bloggers on the Right to condemn Democrat Rep. John Murtha for blabbing about the still-not-complete investigation of alleged war atrocities by Marines at Haditha. (Formal findings are not expected for several weeks.) Since Murtha’s widely broadcast accusations of Marines killing civilians “in cold blood,” at least one other congressional rep–GOP Rep. John Kline of Minnesota–has jumped the gun and gone on record issuing conclusions about what happened at Haditha before reports are finalized and hearings are convened. Bad. There are also anonymous military sources leaking like crazy. And now the families of two Marines in the unit at issue have come forward with details.

I have been as outspoken as anyone about the anti-war, cut-and-run agenda, and the MSM’s abetting of it. But as military officials acknowledge the existence of not one, but two, investigations into the incident at Haditha–one into the happenings on that fateful Nov. 19 day and the other into an alleged cover-up–it’s time to move past the easy bashing of the motives of Rep. Murtha and his ilk. (Matt at Blackfive has good advice for Murtha about what to say about Haditha that should be used by every pol in Washington.)

The investigations are still ongoing. That’s not an excuse to ignore or dismiss the extensive reporting on the story. Yes, it’s mostly one-sided at this point. But if, if, even a fraction of it is true, it deserves the most vehement condemnation and most severe punishment. Toddlers are dead.

Our Marines do not deserve to be hung in the court of public opinion before an investigation is complete, before hearings are convened, or before any military court proceedings are launched. But there are knees jerking on both sides. I just can’t agree with sentiments like this one:

Jerry Alexander, the owner of G.I. Joe’s and a Navy man who served with the Marines for a dozen years, had much the same perspective, saying, “If I saw my buddy laying there dead, there is no such thing as too much retaliation.”

What? That is not the way to “win the hearts and minds” of Iraq. Or anywhere else.

Yesterday, 8 Marines were charged in the case. Kit JarrellHeidi defends the Marines here and flashes back to this CNN embed’s account via S&L. As I have said from the start, they deserve their day in military court. I pray they are innocent. But if they are guilty, they deserve the harshest penalties possible. Same for those involved in the Hamdania incident. Here is the USMC page tracking both investigations. Our Hot Air interview with 2LT Ilario Pantano, who was accused of premeditated murder in the killing of two Iraqi civilians two years ago and exonerated by a military tribunal, is worth re-watching for perspective.

***
What ever happened to Naveed Avzal Haq?

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He was the Pakistani-American gunman who burst into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building in late July, shooting six women, one fatally, as he declared that he was a “Muslim-American” who was “angry at Israel.” This week, citing Haq’s history of mental illness, King County prosecutor Norm Maleng announced he woudn’t seek the death penalty–despite calling the shooting “one of the most serious crimes that has ever occurred in this city.” Readers at leading Northwest blog Sound Politics react:

Makes you wonder what kind of heinous crime will get the death penalty in this state from now on. Seems it’s all but eliminated here. Posted by: Palouse on December 20, 2006 11:02 AM

So the lesson to the Jihadist or wanna-be jihadist is prior to performing a terrorist act make sure you have received mental health care within the past few years or more recently if possible and then after you get caught claim insanity get life in prison and while in prison “get better” and have your lawyer work with the states DOC and to get you out under “DOC Supervison” for “good behavior”. Rinse and repeat and there you go you no longer have to worry about being a martyr. Posted by: TrueSoldier on December 20, 2006 11:45 AM

***
What ever happened to Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

She’s the fearless critic of Islam who moved to America earlier this year and now serves as a scholar for the American Enterprise Institute. Her latest commentary challenged the Holocaust deniers. In February, she’s coming out with a new book. Can’t wait:

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***

What ever happened to Omeed Aziz Popal and his victims?

He was the San Francisco SUV hit-and-run rampager, accused of killing one person and injuring 18 in August. Earlier this month, he pleaded not guilty.

A reader sent this stomach-turning development in which Popal’s parents are blaming one of the victims for her debilitating injuries:

The family of a man accused of deliberately running down pedestrians with his SUV don’t think they should have to pay for one of the victim’s medical bills.

Susan Rajic remains a quadriplegic three months after she was hit while walking in San Francisco. Omeed Popal is in jail charged with hitting Rajic and 17 other people in the City. He’s also accused of murdering a pedestrian in the East Bay the same day.

KRON 4 obtained a copy of the Popal family’s response to Rajic’s lawsuit asking for medical bills. The defendants blame Rajic saying she was “careless and negligent.” The response also says it was “within her power to act with due diligence to prevent her injuries.”

“It is heartless,” Rajic’s attorney Debra Bogaards told KRON 4’s Will Tran. “It is unfair. It is unjust. It is unbelievable.”

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My reader writes:

Susan is still paralyzed from the neck down, and has only recently regained the ability to breathe on her own without a ventilator. Her reward for being a “careless and negligent” victim, and failing to “act with due diligence” to prevent Mr. Popal from running over her in his parent’s SUV (along with 17 other individuals, allegedly), is the loss of her livelihood, not to mention mounting medical bills covering her treatment and rehabilitation.

More:

Once Susan has completed her rehabilitation, Joseph would like to transfer her to his home in Georgia, so he can care for her and provide for her ongoing medical care. Unfortunately, Susan has no health insurance, and Joseph does not have the means to cover the costs for her relocation and ongoing treatment.

There is a website to help Susan and her family at www.SupportSusan.com.

Please help.

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